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The Capitol Roundup

The Arc of Arizona's regular recap of State & Federal legislative happenings

March 9, 2018

Willing and ABLE
At the Statehouse...

Today is the 61st day of the 2018 legislative session, and legislators worked through the week to move a wide range of policy changes closer to the Governor’s desk.

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In Senate committees, legislators voted to prohibit local governments from implementing a sales tax on specific food and beverages (like soft drinks), require colleges and universities to allow students to carry non-lethal weapons on campus, increase penalties for a driver who causes an accident that leads to death or serious injury of another individual, and annually evaluate the effectiveness of school dropout recovery programs. The Senate Health & Human Services Committee passed a bill to build a Health Professional Workforce Database and advanced a voluntary certification process for community health workers.​
The full Senate unanimously approved a proposal that would create a “dashboard” to compile annual achievement profiles for schools and local education agencies, rating education entities on an A-F system based on the range of performance indicators, but failed to pass two bills on water policy that are connected to the ongoing disagreements between Governor Ducey and key Republican legislators.

House committees voted to allow classrooms to post the state motto (“Ditat Deus,” or “God enriches”) in classrooms, continue $100,000 in funding for a geographic literacy education grant, and assign ownership of human embryos during a divorce. The House Government Committee designated the Sonorasaurus as the official state dinosaur, and the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee agreed Arizona’s counties with a population of under 400,000 should be able to ask voters for an additional sales tax designated for transportation projects.

Members of the House passed a proposal that would ask voters to increase legislators’ terms in office from two to four years and held another vote on a tax credit for teachers who pay for school supplies. The bill failed two weeks ago, but 11 legislators changed their vote to support its passage.

Legislators have two more weeks to hear bills in most policy committees, and long committee agendas reflect the urgency to advance the more than 300 bills awaiting a hearing. Almost 200 bills have passed committees and are ready for a floor debate or vote in the second legislative chamber. As these hundreds of bills move closer to the Governor’s desk, the focus on a state budget becomes more important.


Budget Update

Legislative leaders turned their attention to the state budget this week, as the Senate President began meeting with members of the Republican caucus in small groups – an important step toward understanding the financial priorities each member wants to see included before they will support a budget proposal. House leaders have taken a different approach: their initial budget briefing was held in public caucus meetings last week, where both Republicans and Democrats learned the details on the Governor’s proposed budget and how it connects or differs from what the legislature approved last year.

Though the new focus on a budget is a positive step forward, most legislators say they believe these are early negotiations. It appears that legislative leaders have not agreed with the Governor’s office on how much the state will be able to spend in the next fiscal year, which is necessary to create a financial plan. 

One key point of disagreement will likely be the Governor’s plan to issue bonds for school construction, which is a departure from some legislative Republicans’ belief that the state should only pay cash for new and improved school facilities. Some House Republicans are also opposed to Governor Ducey’s proposal to categorize the second year of teacher pay raises as an ongoing part of the budget that will grow with inflation each year.


Priority Bills
  • SB 1162 (silver alert notification; developmental disability) expands the state’s Silver Alert notification system to include missing individuals of any age who have a developmental disability. The bill was considered in House Republican and Democratic caucus meetings without discussion and awaits a final vote in the House.
  • SB 1218 (developmental homes; licensure; investigations) provides statutory protections for vulnerable children and adults who receive services through the Department of Economic Security’s Division of Developmental Disabilities in developmental home residential settings. The bill unanimously passed the Senate and awaits a hearing in the House Health Committee.
  • HB 2087 (family caregiver income tax credit) creates an individual income tax credit for up to $1,000 and up to 50% of the costs incurred caring for a qualifying family member. The bill passed the House 45-14 last month and awaits a hearing in the Senate Finance Committee and Senate Appropriations Committee.
Governor Ducey May Seek Changes for School Safety

Though none of the legislative proposals on gun control were considered this year, Governor Ducey may call for policy changes designed to enhance school safety. Following the shooting at a high school in Parkland. Florida, Governor Ducey told reporters that he was against the idea of arming teachers but that there may be steps the state could take to give more protection to children and teachers in Arizona schools. He called for a bipartisan approach to the discussion.

The Governor said he expected to release his plan in the coming weeks, and The Arizona Capitol Times reports that this week he met with a wide range of parent groups, school administrators, law enforcement and criminal justice experts, and health experts – presumably as part of his effort to develop his recommendations.


In the News

Governor Ducey appointed a wide range of political and business leaders to the cybersecurity team he created last week to enhance cooperation between governments, businesses, law enforcement, and entities across Arizona that can help protect cybersecurity in Arizona.
On the Bright Side…

Arizona has launched the Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Account program! The Arc of Arizona supported legislation that authorized the accounts in 2016, creating a tax-advantaged way for individuals with disabilities to save money. The Arizona Department of Economic Security has developed the program, and now Arizonans can apply. For more information, visit www.az-able.com.
 


On the Federal Front...


Major Recent Events
 
Money Follows the Person Days of Actions Held This Week

The Arc and other disability organizations hosted a national call-in day and social media day this week to push for passage of the EMPOWER Care Act (S. 2227). This legislation reauthorizes the Money Follows the Person program which provides grants to states to transition people from institutions to community based settings. The program has allowed 75,000 people to transition from institutions back into the community since 2015. The National Call-In Day was Wednesday, March 7. The National Social Media Day was Thursday, March 8.

House Committee Holds Hearing on SSA Leadership

On March 7, the House Committee on Ways and Means Subcommittee on Social Security held a hearing on "Lacking a Leader: Challenges Facing the SSA after over 5 Years of Acting Commissioners." As stated in the Committee's announcement "The hearing will focus on the need for a Senate-confirmed Commissioner to lead the Social Security Administration (SSA), the challenges and limitations faced by the SSA when it is led by an Acting Commissioner, and the legal framework that governs a vacancy at the SSA." Visit the Committee web site for more information or to access live video from the day of the hearing.

Criminal Justice - The Arc Hosts Facebook Live with NPR's Joe Shapiro

On March 9th, The Arc hosted a Facebook Live with Joe Shapiro, the reporter behind NPR's powerful series on sexual assault and disability. Joe was joined by Leigh Ann Davis, Director of Criminal Justice Initiatives for The Arc, for a conversation about this serious problem facing individuals with disabilities. Find the event on The Arc's Facebook page.

Announcements

Register Today: Disability Policy Seminar on April 23-25!

Registration for the premier policy event of the year is officially open! Join other advocates and professionals from all over the country to get up-to-date on the latest policy issues and legislation. It is an excellent opportunity to advance our grassroots movement, meet with your Members of Congress, and educate them on the needs of people with disabilities. 2017 was a tumultuous year in Washington for disability rights. Congress repeatedly attempted to cut and cap Medicaid and repeal the Affordable Care Act, but was met with resistance from the disability community at every turn. We won those battles together, thanks to your advocacy, energy, and persistence! But the fight isn't over. We need you in Washington, DC to advocate for the programs that people with disabilities rely on to make a life in their communities possible. The Disability Policy Seminar is your chance to make an impact! Register today at disabilitypolicyseminar.org.
 
National Council on Disability Releases Five-Part Report Series on IDEA Implementation

The National Council on Disability (NCD) released a five-part report series on implementation of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). The last major report on IDEA Implementation from NCD was released in 2002, prior to the 2004 reauthorization. The five parts of the series are:NCD is an independent federal agency charged with advising the President, Congress, and other federal agencies regarding policies, programs, practices, and procedures that affect people with disabilities.
 
PCPID Releases Report on Direct Support Professionals Workforce Crisis

The President's Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities (PCPID) recently released a report titled America's Direct Support Workforce Crisis: Effects on People with Intellectual Disabilities, Families, Communities and the U.S. Economy. The report notes that direct support professionals (DSPs) provide services that allow people with intellectual disability to live in their communities and enable family members to work. Additionally, the report indicates that the average hourly DSP wage is $10.72, most DSPs work two or three jobs, and the average annual turnover rate is 45%. For more information, see The Arc's statement on the report. A plain-language version of the report can be found here.

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​Prepared by:
Peters, Cannata & Moody, PLC
www.pcmlawaz.com

The Arc of Arizona
www.arcarizona.org

and

The Arc of the United States

www.thearc.org


The Capitol Roundup is provided weekly throughout the Arizona Legislative session and periodically between sessions as a benefit of Membership in The Arc of Arizona. To continue receiving this publication, visit www.arcarizona.org/become-a-member to start or renew your Membership today!

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Don't Miss the 14th Annual
​American Indian Disability Summit -

"Gathering Native Voices to Strengthen Support for Family Caregivers"

Click Below for Participant Registration and Sponsor/Exhibitor Information:

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